Anyone Have Experience Using Countdown Timers?

8 replies
I have an offer that requires all customers be registered by March 31st, 2013.

I'm planning on posting a countdown timer on my site, but I was hoping I could get some feedback on the threshold between creating urgency and procrastination.

One thought I had, was to start off with the timer in a small area on the site, and gradually make it bigger and place it more prominently as deadline approaches.

Another thought was to prominently place the timer, and offer the option to "be reminded" (snag the lead) or Sign Up Now. But, I could see that going south because why do today what you can put off until March 31st?

Any thoughts will be appreciated.
#countdown #experience #timers
  • Profile picture of the author dvduval
    Many make a deadline and then decide to extend it!
    It is okay to contact me! I have been developing software since 1999, creating many popular products like phpLD.
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    • Profile picture of the author JeremyEstes

      I'm just curious if anyone's tested the threshold of urgency vs. purposeful procrastination (i.e. "oh CRAP, I better do this now" vs. "meh, I still have xx Days to get it done")
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  • Profile picture of the author Bill_Z
    Urgency will always increase your conversions. But I use my countdown in a different way, for example I'll send out a special offer and make it available for only 24 hours or 3 days. If it's a one-time offer after an initial front-end product, I'll make it for 30 mins only.

    IMO the longer you have it, the less effective it is. So in your example it won't be as effective because people will figure they can always come back, but I still think it's good to add. Just make it prominent the whole time, no sense making it "bigger" as you get closer to March I don't think. Good luck!
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    • Profile picture of the author John Lenaghan
      I've never tested a timer that far out but I suspect it wouldn't create any real sense of urgency. I'd be surprised if it made any difference versus not having it, and wouldn't be surprised if it made it even worse since it would be that much more obvious how long people have.

      Why not try something like Bill_Z suggested and come up with some reasons to use shorter deadlines.

      You could offer some sort of bonus or something to people who sign up in the next 7 days, for example. Keep doing that every week or two between now and the actual deadline.

      If your bonuses are good and people see that you actually take them away after the deadline is over, it would probably help get them to sign up well before the March deadline.

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  • Profile picture of the author sunray
    A few years ago I planned to make a 2012 "end of the world" website with a countdown timer at the sidebar. At that time Drupal (version 6) had an excellent timer for this purpose. At the page load it took the right time from the server, and then Javascript kept it counting.

    EDIT: I'm not sure, but this may be it:

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  • Profile picture of the author dvduval
    We do our annual auction using a timer and start it about 7 days from the end. It is right at the top of the homepage of a site that gets 5000 uniques/day and it really helps increase the bids.
    It is okay to contact me! I have been developing software since 1999, creating many popular products like phpLD.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alice grubb
    yea the trouble with countdown timers is finding a reason that is legitimate for the time ticking down. if it doesn't seem like there is any real reason for it counting down, it might just be annoying to folks rather than create a sense of urgency. Still, if you can find a real reason, and then somehow automate the countdown, that is ideal, so you dont have to keep logging in and changing the sales letter. Get your creative hat on and I'm sure you can think of some "reasons why"
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